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Neighborhood Development

Victory for VOICE: Nearly 1,600 VOICE Leaders Pack Election Forum with Virginia Gubernatorial Candidates Mr. Gillespie (R) and Lt. Gov. Northam (D)

Sounding the Call for "We the People" 

On Sunday night, nearly 1,600 Metro IAF Virginians from 58 VOICE congregations and schools throughout northern Virginia secured commitments from Virginia Gubernatorial Candidates Mr. Ed Gillespie (R) and Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam (D) to raise Virginia's felony larceny level, increase support for public schools and the Housing Trust Fund, fix Washington's crumbling public transit, support DREAMers and convene law enforcement and educators to end hate crimes and bullying. Leaders and Clergy from all different faiths and ethnicities packed a Prince William County high school auditorium and reignited the call for "We the People," a building of the citizen power required to demand action on its statewide Election Agenda, to forge alliances across the political and economic spectrum to move on these issues, and to compromise where necessary to create change.

Gubernatorial Candidates Gillespie and Northam committed, if elected, to meet with VOICE at least twice a year, including before the state budget is formulated. Both candidates also pledged to attend listening sessions to hear issues faced by WMATA metro workers, teachers, DREAMers and others in the community. VOICE will have 400+ volunteer leaders on the ground doing non-partisan Get out The Vote (GOTV) work in four low-voting districts in Fairfax and Prince William Counties between now and Election Day to increase voter turnout by 5-10% in targeted precincts. All eyes are on Virginia. As a bellwether state, the outcome of this election will be pivotal for what is to come nationwide.

VOICE’S ISSUE AGENDA
 
Issue #1: Leading the Nation in Reducing Discrimination, Hate Acts & Bullying
1). Zero tolerance for discrimination, hate and bullying; 2). Strengthen reporting and increase training; 3). Implement the best of the 2018 recommendations from Governor's Commission on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
 
Issue #2: Restorative Criminal Justice
1). Increase the felony larceny level from $200 to at least $1,500 and change misdemeanor law for 1/2 ounce of marijuana; 2). Dismantle school to prison pipeline and invest in young people.
 
Issue #3: Public Education
1). Tackle achievement gap by creating a pilot specialized grant program for Title 1 schools; 2). Address teacher shortage crisis; 3). Increase access to Pre-K for low-income 4-year-olds.
 
Issue #4: Reliable Transit
1). Ensure our Washington Metropolitan Area Transit is an affordable, reliable, and equitable transit system; 2). Uphold Metro's middle-class jobs. We need more good jobs in our region, not fewer.
 
Issue #5: Housing That is Affordable for Workers & Families
1). Support building affordable housing on publicly owned land (local, state, and federal) and increase the VA Housing Trust Fund from the current two-year $8 million allocation.
 
Issue #6: Immigration
1). Support keeping families together! There are 74,000 kids who are US citizens in VA that have a parent who is undocumented; 2). Support DREAMers by convening Virginia US Delegates, Senators, VA CEO's who employ DREAMers, NOVA Superintendents, Educators, VA denominational leaders & DREAMers to hear first-hand why DACA is critical.
 
 
 

1,130+ Jersey City Together Leaders Press for Affordable Housing, Jobs Commitments on 200+ Acres of Formerly Contaminated Land


Rev. Dr. Joshua Rodriguez of Cityline Church with leaders and organizers from a previous
Metro IAF affiliate, Interfaith Community Organization, on stage behind him.

1,130+ leaders gathered for Jersey City Together's Fall action on Monday, October 2nd to discuss the future of Jersey City and - in particular - how 200 acres of vacant & underdeveloped land could be used to address the city's need for affordable housing and jobs. Interfaith Community Organization (ICO), a previous IAF affiliate, had forced Honeywell & PPG to spend $1 billion cleaning up hexavalent chromium contamination.

Now that these sites are clean, the work begins to ensure the sites are used for the benefit of the City. Both mayoral candidates committed to work with the organization if elected, and Mayor Steven Fulop agreed "100%" with Jersey City Together's vision for the sites and committed to "work hand in hand" with the organization to rewrite at least one of the two redevelopment plans for the sites to include more affordable housing and jobs. Jersey City Together will continue the fight to turn these commitments into action. Press coverage can be found hereherehere, and here.


Jersey City Together leaders discuss the future of 200 acres of vacant land.

Justice United Sets New Agenda


Leaders discuss community concerns and upcoming issue priorities

United Power Rebuilds Southwest Chicago, Decreases Crime and Improves Schools

Thursday evening, May 25th, 300 leaders from United Power for Action and Justice and its southwest side affiliate, the Southwest Organizing Project (SWOP) celebrated the completion of the first phase of an effort to rebuild the southwest side of Chicago and the start of the second phase. After several years, during which one-hundred units have been renovated, the organization has seen striking results. Crime is down 50%. The two local schools in the immediate area, Morrill and Fairfield, have improved their performance -- rising from low Level 3 CPS rankings to Level 2 and Level 2+. The school just south of the area, Marquette, has gone from Level 3 to Level 1+. Local private contractors have followed United Power’s lead and bought and renovated other buildings in the area.

On May 25th, to kick-off the second phase of the effort, the first $1 million commitment was announced by LISC Chicago.  The expansion effort will seek to raise a total of $10 million to extend east and south of its initial target area to include 70 blocks.

Links:

http://mailchi.mp/4b6ddcc0fd96/the-anti-violence-strategy-that-will-work

http://chicagotonight.wttw.com/2017/05/26/community-initiative-reclaim-southwest-chicago-expands

https://www.wbez.org/shows/wbez-updates/southwest-side-group-sees-neighborhood-reversal/0705199d-2123-4476-8b5b-7fb03378078d

AIM Wins Big: $59 Million for Affordable Housing and Expansion of Dream Academy to Four High Needs Schools

Montgomery County, MD:

In May AIM won an additional $59 Million for affordable housing, bringing AIM’s total to $600 Million over the past 15 years!  The funding will provide rental assistance, end chronic homelessness in the county, and provide funding for affordable housing development. AIM has been fighting consistently and persistently for affordable housing since 2002, when it successfully pushed for the first significant funding in the Housing Initiative Fund.

Expansion of After School Programming:

Through a sustained effort that brought together leaders of AIM congregations, principals, teachers, and Recreation staff, AIM won free, high quality after school care in two high poverty elementary schools in the 2016-17 school year. Dream Academy kicked off this February and ran until June, providing 240 students with after school academic enrichment, recreation time, a nutritious meal, and AIM-facilitated parent organizing and engagement.   AIM is now celebrating another victory, the expansion of Dream Academy to a total of four schools in the new financial year, and the expansion of the program from four days a week to five, and is equipped to serve 480 students next year.

Dream Academy has already made a difference in the communities where it operates. As part of the campaign to win this expansion, students and parents testified about the program in front of the county council. One mother spoke of the impact Dream Academy has had on her son’s grades and behavior in school saying, “The extra hour of academic support gives my son and other students the opportunity to fully learn concepts from the normal school day…I really do appreciate his teacher and the administration for supporting my son, but Dream Academy, I mean it, is something special. The academic enrichment my son receives is very impactful… He really really loves Dream Academy so much, there is no day he doesn’t tell me he is looking forward to it.” 

 

 

EBC Celebrates Victories, Prepares for Fight Ahead with Mayor de Blasio and NYCHA

1,500 people packed into Bedford Central Presbyterian Church to celebrate a year of hard-fought victories for Brooklyn communities, reaffirming commitments to one another as members of EBC, and reconfirming relationships with the commissioners of the DOT, the Parks Department, Sanitation, and the commanding officer for all Brooklyn police precincts. 

Some of those victories include making 13 intersections safer for pedestrians, cleaning up 9 corners and city blocks, and building better and deeper relationships with police in three precincts. Over the last year, EBC has sold 81 Nehemiah homes and has recently won the right to develop 33 new affordable apartments in Ocean Hill.

EBC is also setting in motion an ambitious plan for turning underutilized property and vacant lots in East Brooklyn into tens of thousands of units of affordable housing for seniors in order to both provide them safe, comfortable, and affordable homes, as well as opening up space in NYCHA housing for younger families. EBC is also kicking off the research phase of a campaign to address the issues of mass-incarceration and mis-incarceration that are impacting the city. 

East Brooklyn Congregations Wins Commitment in Fight for Respect and Cleaner Streets

101 leaders from 8 institutions from East Brooklyn Congregations in New York descended on the Brooklyn Sanitation North headquarters in East Williamsburg to clean up the trash and get rid of the disrespect.

When leaders from EBC visited the headquarters last month on April 2nd, they were tossed out of the lobby.  But on May 1st, the action was different. At the sanitation office, EBC demanded and received a public commitment to meet with Chief Steven Costas, Director of the Bureau of Cleaning and Collection on Thursday, May 25th. “It’s very basic that you should have clean streets, but we don’t,” said Bed-Stuy resident Sabrina Perry.

Read the Op-Ed from Revs. Lacey, Miller, Jenkins, Neil and Brawley HERE.

Metro IAF Affiliate: Solar Energy: Better than Free Solar with Community Purchasing Alliance (CPA)

Have you heard about the Community Purchasing Alliance? As a Metro IAF affiliate, CPA Co-op is quite literally building power in their work to solarize the DC charter community. Read more about the 7 schools that are already on board by clicking on the press release here. To learn more about what we at CPA have accomplished over the past year, please check out our Annual Report.

 

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